Just Imagine

The Worst Princess

About the Author and Illustrator

Anna Kemp grew up on a street with a gang of kids and spent her childhood sticker-swapping, playing Pac-man, and coordinating BMX displays. She was a bit of a late reader but now reads a lot in her job at Oxford University where she works on contemporary French literature. Her first picture book, Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, was published in 2010. Fantastic Frankie and the Brain-Drain Machine was her first young fiction title and published in 2011.

Sara Ogilvie is an illustrator and printmaker. She was the 2011 Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award winner and was shortlisted for the Best Emerging Illustrator Award 2010. Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, which she illustrated, was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010 and the Booktrust Early Years Award 2010. Sara lives in lives in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North of England.

About the Book

Princess Sue is lonely and longs to be rescued from boredom by a handsome prince. However, when he arrives it becomes clear that they have very different ideas of how a perfect princess should behave! Sue quickly finds an ally in a fearsome dragon with whom she gets up to all kinds of fun and even gets rid of the annoying prince. The Worst Princess offers a humorous  twist on traditional princess tales with engaging rhyming text. The way in which it challenges gender stereotypes will lead to interesting discussions.

Before Reading

Begin by asking children to name some princesses they have met in stories. Do they have any favourites? Look at some images of princesses and discuss their characteristics.

  • How do they behave?
  • How would you describe a good princess?
  • What will the worst princess be like?

True or false

Present the children with the following statements and ask them to decide with a partner whether they are true or false. Compare answers with another pair and discuss any which the children have not agreed on as a group.

  • Princesses should not fight dragons.
  • A princess should look pretty and wear nice clothes.
  • Princesses will only be happy if they marry a prince.

During Reading

Some questions for discussion:

  • Which books has Princess Sue read?
  • What is the prince rescuing Princess Sue from?
  • How does Sue feel when she sees the castle that the prince wants her to live in?
  • What kinds of lessons are there at Princess School? What kind of student would Sue have been ?
  • Why is Sue not afraid of the fearsome dragon?

Compare and Contrast

In pairs or groups select another princess to compare and contrast to Princess Sue. Use a Double Bubble map (David Hyerle, 2008) to help the children to organise their thoughts.

After Reading

Discuss the following statements do you think they are true or false?

  • Princesses should always want to marry a prince.
  • Princesses must wear pretty dresses and behave nicely.
  • Dragons are dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Dragon-bashing’s not for girls.
  • Sue is the worst princess.
  • Princesses can only live happily ever after with a handsome prince.

Wanted Poster

  • Choose a character from the story and create a wanted poster.
  • The poster should include a portrait, a reason they are wanted and details of a reward.